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Kick off 12:30 (UK)

02 September 2023 Venue Prenton Park Attendance

Kick off 12:30 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Reports

REPORT | Tranmere Rovers 0-1 Wrexham AFC

Hayden heads Red Dragons to Derby Day victory at Prenton Park

2 September 2023

Aaron Hayden headed Wrexham to a thoroughly deserved derby-day victory away to Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park.

In a match in which Wrexham dominated, it was Hayden's second-half header - his first goal of the season - that made the difference.

In front of more than 2,000 away supporters, Hayden nodded in from a corner to earn Wrexham their second league win of the Sky Bet League Two season.

James McClean returned to the Wrexham starting line-up, in place of Jacob Mendy at left-back, while Ollie Palmer and Sam Dalby were partnered together up front.

New signing George Evans was on the bench, while fellow Deadline Day arrival Arthur Okonkwo watched from the stands at Prenton Park.

There was also a first outing of the Sky Bet League Two season for Wrexham’s all-black away kit, as the visitors started the game shooting away from the packed away stand.

Wrexham started on the front foot, and Ryan Barnett dug a right-wing cross out on two minutes from which McClean’s volley was blocked, and Luke Young’s dragged follow-up deflected wide off Ollie Palmer.

The Red Dragons continued to dominate the attacking possession, with a string of corners and throw-ins inside the first ten minutes.

From one, in the ninth minute, Ben Tozer elected to throw shorter and though it was missed at the front post, it bounced for Palmer to half-volley over from the penalty spot.

On the quarter-hour, Barnett made space on the right with a trademark stepover and crossed deep for Elliot Lee, but his header back across goal was just over.

Tranmere had to wait until the 17th minute for their first real chance, when Regan Hendry crossed low from the left-wing. Kristian Dennis arrived between the Wrexham defence but too late to get the crucial touch.

With Barnett continuing to cause problems, however, Wrexham remained on the front foot. On 24 minutes, Palmer charged through the Tranmere defence and the ball eventually dropped for Dalby on his right foot, but Luke McGee tipped his powerful shot wide, one-handed at the near post.

McGee missed Tozer’s long throw on 29 minutes, which a Tranmere defender only half-cleared, but Young’s follow up header sailed high and wide of the far post.

From Young’s short pass on 32 minutes, McClean fired a low, left-footed cross in, which Dalby flicked goalwards, but the ball was deflected behind by a defender.

Two minutes later, a poor cross-field pass gave Lee the chance to counter-attack and release McClean on the left, but again his low effort was blocked.

Tranmere wrestled back some control at the end of the half, limiting Wrexham’s opportunities, and the two sides went in goalless at the break.

Wrexham back on the front foot after the break, however, and after McClean’s rising shot deflected behind on 47 minutes, Dalby’s glancing header – from O’Connor’s corner – dropped just wide.

All three centre-backs were involved from another O’Connor corner on 52 minutes – Will Boyle flicking the ball on, Tozer heading back inside and Hayden, under pressure, nodding tamely at McGee.

Three minutes later, the ball fell kindly for Young to rifle in a long-range shot on 55 minutes, which cannoned off a defender and deflected dangerously around the area before dropping for a corner.

Hayden headed Wrexham in front from the resultant, inswinging Tom O’Connor corner, however – the defender arriving unmarked to turn the ball in from close range.

Tranmere’s response was to switch to three at the back for the final quarter of the game, with former Wrexham man Brad Walker stepping off the bench and into the defence.

Sam Taylor also came on in a double change, and it was the latter who advanced down the left and hitting a rising, left-footed shot which Mark Howard tipped over on 71 minutes.

Goalscorer Hayden was replaced by Eoghan O’Connell on 73 minutes, after a touch of cramp on just his second start of the season.

Tozer kept Luke Young’s corner alive in the 82nd minute, and turned to fire a low ball across the area, which was deflected just out of Dalby’s reach.

At the other end, Howard had to be quick off the mark to deny Taylor as he looked to race onto a low through ball in the 84th minute.

Anthony Forde replaced Ryan Barnett, and Evans came on for Elliot Lee for his Wrexham debut as Phil Parkinson turned to he bench for fresh legs.

Wrexham stood firm through six minutes of stoppage time, however, including a late goalmouth scramble which saw Luke McGee come forward for Tranmere.

The referee's final whistle signalled a first away win of the season for Wrexham, and a repeat of the scoreline in the last derby win at Prenton Park too.

Tranmere Rovers (4-3-3): McGee, Yarney (Walker 66), Davies, Turnbull, Pike (Taylor 66), Morris (McAlear 84), Merrie, Hendry, Dennis, Hawkes, Jennings

Subs: Murphy, Norris, Jolley, Lewis

Wrexham (3-5-2): Howard, Hayden (O’Connell 73), Tozer, Boyle, Barnett (Forde 85), Young, O’Connor, Lee (Evans 89), McClean, Dalby, Palmer

Subs: McNicholas, Evans, Forde, Mendy, Cannon, Bickerstaff

Referee: Martin Woods

Attendance: 10,630 (2,074 away)


Tranmere: Merrie (55, foul)

Wrexham: O’Connell (83, foul)

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